NewsNorth AfricaHannibal - The game of guess


Posted on Thursday, 07 August 2014 13:32

Hannibal - The game of guess

By Hannibal, The Africa Report

This year's African Development Bank (AfDB) annual general meeting did not only provide a platform to voice the myriad economic challenges facing the continent. Your business insider brings you tit-bits from behind the scenes.


A vision for the continent - The African Development Bank (AfDB) annual general meetings concluded with a flourish in Kigali, Rwanda on 23 may. The previous day, the AfDB and the people's Bank of China announced the creation of the $2bn Africa Growing Together fund, which is set to begin financing projects before the end of 2014. Diplomats, bankers and finance ministers professed to be more than a little impressed with the free wireless internet access on the conference buses. One delegate glanced at the state-of-the-art submachine guns carried by the omnipresent and unsmiling Rwandan army guards, complete with bulging night-vision scopes, and confessed: "I don't even know what that model is. It looks like the latest model all right."

Shenzhen was an experiment for China's reform and opening

The AfDB succession guessing game - But the real show in town was the game of guess the next AfDB president. With incumbent Donald Kaberuka heading for the exit at the Côte d'Ivoire summit in 2015, it was also time to reflect on his two terms. Some insiders grumbled of political battles, nepotism and a looming budget problem. However, the majority saluted the manner in which Kaberuka helped Africa weather a financial crisis and the dynamic refocusing of the bank on infrastructure and the private sector.

African policy-makers on a manufacturing mission -Hannibal also noticed the emphasis on structural transformation of the continent's economy, away from the export of raw materials and towards the development of a functioning manufacturing sector. To this effect, the AfDB brought over experts from Shenzhen University. Shenzhen was one of the sites of China's post-1980s export miracle. Professor Tao Yitao, who is the director of the China Center for Special Economic Zone Research, told attendees: "Shenzhen was an experiment for China's reform and opening, which convinced the leadership of the possibility of the socialist/market system." it was no doubt music to the ears of certain Bretton Woods devotees in attendance.

Lopes calls for fight against theft and laziness -One of the key themes running through the conference was the need for African countries to hold onto their wealth, both by preventing money from being lost through corruption and capital flight, and also by better utilising the cash that they have accumulated through the sale of oil and minerals. Others suggested that Africa need not look far away to meet its financing needs. "If you add up our pension funds, our lazy banks, the stealing happening through multinational transfer pricing [...] there are around a trillion dollars in funds that could be mobilised for development," opined United Nations Economic Commission for Africa executive secretary Carlos Lopes. ●

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